Ready for an adventure with a purpose? Request info »
  • Search SEA Semester, Summer and High School Programs

Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers. Dates and times use GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans

November 20, 2015

Bioluminescent Sandwich

Emma Tolerton, B Watch, Mount Holyoke College

The Global Ocean: New Zealand

Clouds over Great Barrier Island as we sailed out of the Hauraki Gulf

Ship's Log

35° 57.7’ S x 175° 46.5’ E

Hauraki Gulf

Cloudy and rainy

Souls on Board

Hello readers!
We spent the night anchored just off Kawau Island where we stood anchor watches in pairs for an hour at a time. When we came on deck to relieve Julianna for anchor watch, the first thing she had to report was the “cool thing”. She poured a splash of her water overboard and upon contact with the sea, the water glowed! The rest of our watch was less eventful. After breakfast we had all hands on deck to set the sails for our second day of sailing! Yesterday, we used the motor along with the sails but today we got to the point where we turned the engine off! It is fair to say that it was a rough sea. We’ve all been given an abrupt introduction to the world of tall ship sailing but every minute I learn more.

My watch had most of the day off so we all tried to get some sleep. Lying in my bunk in the foc’s’le (for those of you who don’t know, sailors shorten all words and this is short for forecastle and is located in the bow of the ship) was like being in a never-ending amusement park ride where you are thrown repeatedly up into the air and then come crashing back down into the water. Throughout the day much clanging and stumbling could be heard. Let me tell you, putting socks on in a thrashing boat is not easy. After sliding around on my foot for a while I sat down, but then I just slid to the other side of the fo’s’cle on my butt.

There are a lot of things to get used to but we are adjusting to life at sea. The gimbled tables are quite something. Since they stay parallel to the horizon even as the boat rocks from side to side, it may look like they are at a 45 degree angle really they are flat and everything else, including you, is on an angle. This means you can put things on them and they don’t slide off! Your tea level stays even! As I write this the
table is dropping out from under me and through the port holes it looks like a washing machine with blue water sloshing and frothing around the circles.

Another fun thing about life on the ship is that there are little cubbies everywhere for storing things! Recently, I discovered a cubby full of cereal under my mattress and got very excited that I had hit the jackpot and found a secret stash! But our steward, Bex, assured me that it is entirely normal for food to be stored under the beds of students. Fingers crossed I’m not sleeping when we run out of cereal in the galley.

My watch had the first evening watch and we were greeted by a wonderful light show of bioluminescent jellies! I’m convinced that they were encouraged by our excitement because the more we talked about them, the more the gelatinous organisms glowed for us! It was a beautiful night, I can only hope that every day will begin and end with bioluminescent watches and I can’t wait to see stars! (We’ve had mostly clouds, usually covering 7/8ths of the sky). Mother nature was heavy early on, but me thinx we held fast and she’s calming down, so we’re looking forward to lighter days ahead.

Also, we had a birthday on board, happy birthday Kate!

Logging off,

Categories: Robert C. Seamans,The Global Ocean: New Zealand, • Topics: s263  life at sea  science  sailing • (4) Comments
Previous entry: Stormy    Next entry: Bobbin’ N Weavin’ Aboard the Bobby C. Seamans


Leave a public comment for students and crew to read when they reach their next port and have access to the internet!

#1. Posted by Jonathan Jones on November 23, 2015

Hello Emma!

We are very much enjoying the blog posts. They yield great insight as to your daily adventure on the Seamans. Please say hello to Erin from her family & friends. We hope to read a posting by her as well at some point in your amazing journey.

Forge on!

The Jones Family
Bainbridge Island, WA

#2. Posted by Kathryn Connors on November 24, 2015

Hi Kate! 

We hope your birthday celebration at sea was fantastic.  While we miss you, we know this was a birthday you’ll never forget!  We’ll have brownies and pumpkin pie waiting for you when you get home. 

Mom, Dad, Claire & Daniel

#3. Posted by Greg, Lisa, David, Chris on November 26, 2015

Hi Emma! It sounds like you’re having a wonderful time at sea.  I’m not sure how you’re keeping from getting seasick..I was getting woozy just reading your blog!  We are all together for Thanksgiving.  Wish you were here with us..the chestnut stuffing was great. Keep up the good work..we are all so very proud of you!
Love, Aunt Lisa and Uncle Greg

Hi Emma: It sounds like a wild adventure on the boat.  You should keep a journal.  We had a wonderful traditional Thanksgiving.  Your mom called today to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving.  Stay safe and have fun.

Uncle David

Emma:  Hey its cousin Chris.  Just wanted to say I’m very proud of you and what you are doing!  I would have loved to be in your position when I was in school.  It sounds like you’re having a great time despite the rough seas.  I hope you don’t get seasick like our lil cuz Benjamin lol.  Happy Thanksgiving, stay safe, I’m sure your access to alcohol is limited but don’t drink and sail.  A lot of love sent your way!!!


#4. Posted by Greg, Lisa, David, Chris on November 27, 2015

Hi Emma..

We all posted Happy Thanksgiving comments, but they aren’t on your blog comments..please know that we were all thinking of you and missed you eating chestnut stuffing with us at our Thanksgiving table.  We are all so very proud of you!

Greg, Lisa, Chris and David



Add a comment:

Notify me of follow-­up comments?

I would like SEA to keep me informed about news and opportunities.